Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Two Resurrections

The teaching of "the two salvations" can also be called "the two resurrections" just the same.  It stems most easily from Revelations 20:6 where it states: "Happy and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection..."  Many people today still worry about their friends and family, and wonder what will happen to them at the end of this life if they do not come to Jesus now.  On the other side of the coin, there are those, so stricken in fear at the thought of eternal punishment following this life, who believe that you can live this whole life as a "non-believer" - but "repent" and name Jesus on your death bed, and then be "saved".  We are discussing this today in order to bring to light what the Bible says about regarding these "two resurrections", and what comfort we can gain from it during the loss of a loved one - and most especially what wonderful hope we can have when thinking about the future of God's Kingdom.

So, first and foremost, let's read a little bit more of the scripture.

Rev. 20:6 "Happy and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: upon these the second death hath no authority; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him for the thousand years."

This scripture opens up a lot of questions.  For the sake of time, we are not going to talk about all of them. :)  But, it does tell us that there are at least two resurrections - because it says clearly "the first resurrection."  Now, if there were only one resurrection then there wouldn't be the need to write the "first" one.  So, we know that there are more than one.  Let's visit another scripture that supports the idea of more than one resurrection.

John 5:28 - "Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice (:29) and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment." 

Is. 26:9 - "My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness."

*We include Is. 26:9 for the simple reason that when you say "resurrection of judgment" it can sound like a very terrifying idea. Is. 26:9 helps give the idea that although God's judgment is no laughing matter, it is purposed in the hope of a very wonderful outcome - all of the inhabitants of the earth knowing and practicing the righteousness of God.

John 5:28-29 says very clearly that ALL who are in the grave will hear his voice - all will be resurrected. There will be different resurrections though - some have proven themselves faithful and, according to Rev 20:6, will be priests of God and of Christ. Now, it also says that they will "reign" with him - only kings reign. So, we can make the argument that they will be both kings and priests.  Why is this important? It is important because the job of a priest is to be the reconciler between God and man - it tells us that they are going to have a job of reconciling mankind back to God after the resurrection. A king's job is to reign over - to govern.  Let's remember Matt 5:5 - "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (If there is nothing left on the earth, what are they going to inherit exactly?)

The first resurrection seems to be for those who have been faithful in this life. The next resurrection seems to be for those who oppositely were not faithful - for those many people who might have never been preached to at all, who will be resurrected to a life of judgment (John 5:29), who will need to be taught of God's righteousness (Is. 26:9).

There are many other thoughts that give this idea.  One of them is 1 Tim. 4:10.  It says:

 1 Tim. 4:10 - "For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe."

This is such an interesting and wonderful scripture.  God is not only the savior of those who believe now - but He is also the savior of those who will not come to understand Him or His son Jesus until after the resurrection.  When one considers this into the grand scope of God's plan, it makes so much more sense as to why He would allow sin in the magnitude that He has - it's because all along He has had a plan to save all mankind.  Through the sacrifice of His only son Jesus Christ, in order to pay the ransom for sin, so that after the resurrection mankind can be taught the ways of God and Jesus.  At that time, after the resurrection, the truth - the whole truth, will be revealed to mankind without speculation.  All will understand the plan and truth of God.  All will have the love of God in their heart, and all will be his special people, and will have the opportunity to live in perfect harmony for all eternity with Him, and with one another. (Only then, after having received full knowledge of the beautiful wonders of God and existence, that if someone again still chooses sin, there will be no other alternative than to send them into the second death, spoken of in Rev. 20:6.)

This is the "gospel", the "good news", that Jesus came to bring.  When we understand it correctly, what wonderful news it is, that the whole world - that our every loved one: our children, our parents, our friends, our brothers and sisters, will experience not only a resurrection, but also a revealing of God's love in a way that we have never known.

Hallelujah indeed.  To end this, we will simply quote some scriptures that fall in line with this concepts, so that anyone who reads can study and reflect on this for themselves in private study and meditation. 

May God bless and comfort us all until this beautiful day, that is most surely coming.

Jeremiah 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Isaiah 11:9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Acts 17:31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

John 12:47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

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